I believe that one of the most rewarding things to do is to cook for friends. And for a good cause. Last Sunday both of them were in this green tea cake I baked for afternoon tea to raise funding for Japan. It was such a little effort that I do not feel I can be complimented. I wish I could do more.
We made origami (a pink rabbit in the background), ate Gyoza (dumplings) and sushi and paid homage to Myazaki. I would like to thank all of those who supported and contributed to make a wonderful afternoon.
One of my favourite areas in San Francisco was Japantown. Everything that emanated from it was a sense of beauty, serenity and discreetness. Every piece of cake or sweet box was a real work of art, so carefully wrapped, so craftily designed. Stillness and dignity are the words that come to my mind when I think of the people of Japan. Especially in this moment.
The cake I made should have had matcha. Matcha is a very finely-milled green tea mostly used in the tea ceremony and of a alien green colour. If you have had it in the past, you wouldn't have forgotten...it has a very distinguished pungent taste, extremely bitter. Not sure I would push myself that far and say it is also *good*. But lately it has been combined with sweet flavors like chocolate and lemon, and the match, despite sounding odd, works well.
As I didn't have matcha (difficult to find, and when you do it needs to be treated like gold) I used a strong green tea instead. The effect was not the same but it still gave a sharp taste.
Green tea cake
2 tsp vanilla essence;
zest of 1 lemon;
half glass of strong green tea;
2 tsp baking powder
1. Make the tea using 1 or 2 tea spoons of tea and leave it to brew for at least 20 minutes. Strain it and leave the liquid aside.
2. Mix the eggs with the sugar. Add the vanilla essence and the grated zest.
3. Melt the butter and when it has cooled down a little bit pour it onto the eggs making sure you mix well and vigorously so avoid the eggs starts cooking. Add the tea and mix well.
4. Mix the baking powder to the flour and sift it slowly to the wet mixture incorporating it slowly with a whisk.
5. Pour in a loaf tin and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 20-25 minutes.
Served with more green tea was delicious. The colour was a pale green which, for a Sunday afternoon, perhaps was enough...